Law guardian accused of stalking
Police: Bethlehem man sent hundreds of texts, e-mails to girl, family
By BRENDAN J. LYONS, Senior writer
First published in print: Saturday, July 25, 2009
SARATOGA -- An Albany-area law guardian is facing a felony stalking charge for allegedly sending hundreds of text messages and threatening e-mails to the family of a 15-year-old girl who had previously been his client in Family Court.
State Police said the stalking also involved the use of Facebook and other Internet social sites to glean private information about the family.
Charles J. Keegan, 58, of Bridge Street, Bethlehem, was arrested July 14 on three counts of stalking and child endangerment, including a felony stalking count for allegedly threatening that he carried a handgun, records show.
State Police announced Keegan's arrest on Friday afternoon, days after the Times Union began examining the arrest records and requested information from police about the case. Keegan was released on $10,000 bail following his arrest in the town of Saratoga, where the family lives.
Keegan is a longtime law guardian in Albany County, and has worked primarily in Albany County Family Court.
"He has been temporarily suspended," said John E. Carter, Jr., director of the Law Guardian program for the Appellate Division's Third Judicial Department in Albany.
Court records detail an alleged pattern of obsessive behavior, including one instance where police say Keegan sent family members 131 text messages on July 2. He also might have loaned the family money and that issue might have fueled the problem, according to police records.
The teenage girl told State Police the phone calls and text messages she initially received from Keegan were supportive.
"Charles used to call me and send me e-mails checking up on me," the girl said in a statement attributed to her by State Police. "But they eventually turned to nasty e-mails, regarding my sex life and calling me names."
She told police that last February she asked Keegan to stop contacting her but the calls and electronic messages continued. She also alleged that Keegan posed as her friends on Facebook, a Web-based social networking site, to gain information about her and her family.
"He also has been making up MySpace accounts and Facebook accounts using (an alias) and also trying to get information in that way," the girl told police.
On July 2, the contact became unsettling for the girl's family when Keegan allegedly spoke to her parents.
"You invited me up there and by the tone of your voice I take that to mean violence," Keegan allegedly told the girl's parents, court records show. "I will protect myself in any way I need to. I carry a firearm for protection."
The family's identity was redacted from court records provided to the Times Union. They could not be reached for comment.
The girl's mother also provided police a statement about their encounters with Keegan.
"If I don't respond to his texts or not provide answers that satisfy him he becomes upset and texts, e-mails and calls me constantly," said an affidavit attributed to her by State Police. "He has been told numerous times by me, my husband and the police to stop contacting me or my family, yet he continues to do so."
Keegan could not be reached for comment. He is set to return to Saratoga town court on Aug. 4.
Brendan J. Lyons can be reached at 454-5547 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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